Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fit Happens!

Jenn McKinlay: It’s been four years since I gave up my day job, which involved playing Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero with the teens and parachute jump and bubble time with the toddlers. Yes, I was a part-time children’s librarian and, boy howdy, did those kids keep me fit.

Now that I’m a full time writer, I have what is essentially a desk job. I am like the “time to make the donuts” guy, but it’s more like “time to make the pages” gal, but I don’t have a mustache or access to copious amounts of pastry. Darn it – on the pastry not the mustache.

I try to write ten pages a day, which is a lot of butt in chair time, especially when I spend seventy-five percent of that time with my fingers perched over the keyboard staring out the window waiting for the words to come. Some days it’s quite a long wait not unlike the back of the line at the DMV but without all the entertaining people watching.

So here I am, getting all the things my friends, who’ve been cubicle moles and desk jockeys for years, warned me about. There is some posterior spread happening, as well as a pooch over the waistband that is actually in the shape of a donut. Why can’t these things be considered attractive? 

My muscle mass since the early years of wrangling hooligans into baths, beds, cars, shopping carriages, swings, and my lap, has diminished considerably into a more spongy substance, which is sad because at my best, when they were both under three, I think I could have bench pressed a car.

A few months ago, I decided that I had to make more of a structured effort to work out. I’ve never belonged to a gym, and that staring out the window thing takes a lot of time, so I didn’t want to give up anymore by having to drive to a place to sweat in public. Why humiliate yourself in front of others, when you can do it at home in front of your pets?

Okay, first up, I got the thingy-- yes, technical name-- that was all the rage developed by some lady on Shark Tank. Seriously, this thing was next to every checkout counter from Walgreens to Ace Hardware, you couldn’t avoid it if you tried. I didn’t try. You’re supposed to stand on it and swivel back and forth like doing the twist only on the plastic thingy-- I know, enough with the technical terms already. Hub watched me tackle this beast and his observation was, as he yelled after me, “I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to leave the room on it.” It now lives under the TV console for future use at a yard sale.

I HATE YOU.
Next, I decided I needed arms like Michelle Obama, because that would totally distract from the flab that was my doopah. Push-ups were the way to go. But I wasn’t going to settle for regular pushups. Heck no! I bought these two swivelly handle dealies – yes, more jargon – to maximize my efforts. Uh huh. The hooligans came home and found me lying face down on the floor between the dealies. I didn’t have enough arm strength left to pick myself up. After they hefted me to my feet, I think they threw them out or hid them. I have not seen the dealies since, but in all honesty I haven’t looked that hard.

I HATE YOU MORE.
Finally, my latest purchase was the ginormous rubber band thing-a-ma-jig. I have since come to the conclusion that whoever invented this thing, hates their fellow man. Not just hates them, but wants to torture them, too. I watched a YouTube tutorial, convinced that this was the item for me. I studied the routine and then put on "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and busted out my moves. Halfway through the song, I felt like I was made of Jell-O. I lost my grip on my rubber band and it thwacked me upside the head. In short, it was not a "happy" workout.

I HATE YOU MOST OF ALL.
So, now I have a treadmill and am attempting the dreaded 4X4 intensity workout (four minutes of hardcore running four times with brisk walking wedged in between intervals). If you don't hear from me...assume it did me in!


How about you, Reds? Do you exercise? And if so, what are your preferred torture devices…er…accoutrements?

HALLIE EPHRON: I used to go to a fitness center and take a class twice a week. Loved it. But the my hip went wonky and I ended up in PT... so now I exercise alone. At home. In front of the TV. Exercise bike. Floor pad. It's all very sad.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, I have to say I have aerobic danced until I got shin splints, and I ran until I blew out my knees. I loved stationary bike, but got over it.  I really tried Nordic track, but I am not coordinated enough. And then---I discovered walking. I am in love with walking. I have a wonderful treadmill, and I walk. I get to watch movies, and news, and episodes of Chopped. I walk outside, when the weather is even marginally bearable.  It's fabulous. And with my beloved FitBit, neurotic me gets constant approval.  I get ideas walking, and get to be off my phone, all good.  Who could ask for anything more? 
Well, I guess I could, I have zero upper body strength. It is embarrassing to try to put my suitcase up in the overhead. Any ideas?

LUCY BURDETTE: I consider it a necessary evil--do not want my bones to disintegrate as I get older. When in Key West, I go to a small local gym where my trainer, Leigh, cracks the whip twice a week--mostly weight training and balance. Unlike my hub, I would not do these things without an appointment! In CT, it's a pilates class. And I also choose walking, Hank. Tonka is a good motivater there, and I get a lot of good ideas while putting one paw in front of the other. 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, you need to get some weight resistance training going - slender white women are far more prone to osteoporosis and other bone problems than anyone else. My mother, who's been a size six her entire life, has excellent cardiovascular health but has been struggling with finding a bone density medication that doesn't have nasty side effects. 

As for me, I've NEVER been a fan of exercise-qua-exercise. From my teens to my early thirties, I skied as much as I could every winter, and in my thirties I picked up running (usually while pushing a jogging stroller.) At the gym, I loved lifting weights, and I also enjoyed hiking and cross-country skiing. Unfortunately, my genetic heritage of arthritis caught up to me. By the time I was  fifty, my knees were in bad enough shape that all those sports were closed to me, and now I can't even walk for more than a mile without pain. (My doctor has recommended knee replacement surgery, which I will get just as soon as I'm in a position where I don't have to drive anywhere or do anything for three months.)

So I've switched to swimming at the Y, which I really like, despite the fact that I am a terrible swimmer. I'm like the little old lady driving 35 in a 50mph speed zone. It's embarrassing when I have to share a lane. I've been interested to hear about Lucy's experience with a trainer - there are trainers available at the Y, and I've been considering hiring one for a few sessions to get me back into weight work. I'd like to know how to strengthen the muscles around my bum knees while not, you know, injuring myself.

INGRID THOFT: I love exercise.  I do!  I love working up a good sweat in the weight room or on the stair climber (the thing that looks like a giant rolling staircase.)  I used to spin a lot and do Zumba, but my back issues put the brakes on those activities.  Now I lift and do the stair climber, elliptical, and hills on the treadmill.  I also love to walk outside when possible and hike when the weather improves.  Swimming is great, too, but preferably in the ocean.  Swimming laps bores me to tears.

I work out with a trainer, and I highly recommend it.  Even if you only have a few sessions, a good trainer will design a program so that you get the most out of your time at the gym.  Even though I love to exercise, I don't want to do it all day, and I love having a plan and getting it done.  I second Julia's suggestion about weight bearing exercise for slim, white ladies, and really, all ladies.  There are plenty of exercises that can be done using your own body weight (that's the sort of info a trainer can provide) that contribute to better bone density, which is a huge issue as we age.  Plus, then you can get your suitcase in the overhead yourself!

A friend of mine says that when he exercises it "feels like a sunny day in my head," even if it's pouring rain in Seattle.  I couldn't agree more!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm a walker, too. I've never been good at any sort of program, or exercise equipment. And I've had dogs for most of my adult life so walking is both a pleasure and a necessity. It's also great for generating chunks of scenes and dialogue and working out plot issues! My new insurance includes a free membership to LA Fitness but I really really doubt I will darken their doors. 

Although I have to say I've fallen off the wagon a bit this winter. There's just been one thing or another, and it's been unusually cold here (I know those of you from the Great North are laughing at me, but I'm a weather wimp.) So I really need to start getting out there every day!

(Does the constant lifting of two-year-old count as weight training?)

RHYS BOWEN: Absolutely, Debs. I developed huge muscles lifting grandkids in and out of the back seat of cars in their car seats! I have always been a hiker. I still love to hike with friends--it's therapy as well as exercise. John and I walk every day. I swim most days. I used to be a passionate tennis player, then a disk between my shoulder blades was damaged so no more tennis for me. Sob. My favorite form of exercise involves the ocean--which is hard in Phoenix, and in California where it's too cold. I love snorkeling and boogie boarding.

For the past two months I've been going to physical therapy twice a week for a problem knee/ankle. PT stands for physical torture. It's like a personal trainer, only worse. Three sets of twenty. Now with a band around your ankles. But I have to say it is working brilliantly and my knee is back to normal. My ankle still suffering from the torn ligament between the two. So standing on one foot and raising and lowering myself is still not fun.


I really believe that physical exercise clears the brain and lets me work better. 

JENN: I agree, Rhys, it does clear the head. I am very active. I'm just not very structured about it. I think you and Ingrid are onto something with the trainer!

What about you, Readers? What's your exercise jam?

84 comments:

  1. Exercise and I do not have a companionable relationship, mostly because I am not particularly fond of exercising. I’m good with lifting grandbabies for weight training and I do like walking; I even have a semi-faithful relationship with my exercise peddler. But I’ve never been tempted to try out that workout board or do the whole gym thing . . . .

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    1. I’m with you, Joan. I like to play. I love my volleyball league, skateboarding with my dudes, and walking my dogs but structured exercise - so bored.

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  2. You are so funny, Jenn! I used to run (yes, I finished the Boston Marathon on a charity number twenty years ago), but that's out. I used to work out in a gym at my day job, but that's gone, and I hate having to drive to exercise. So I fast walk every day for about an hour, which I call my plotting walk when I'm writing first draft, and I go to gentle senior yoga on Thursdays. None of which is really working on muscle mass.

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    1. Amazing, Edith! I was never a runner until a few years ago when I noticed it did more to help some nerve pain I had than anything else - even yoga. So when I walk my dogs we run in short bursts because Annie doesn’t like it.

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  3. Jenn: You are hilarious!

    I played sports in school, and enjoyed a variety of sporting things as an adult, including cross country skiing and a short stint of roller blading - too scary when I got fast enough for it to be fun; I gave it up before falling and injuring myself. These days, I walk - to the bus for work. Twice a day, about 20 minutes each time. Clears the head and prepares me for the college classroom. The bonus is that I love seeing the seasons change as I walk through the neighbourhood.

    In the summer, at the cottage, I build some upper body muscles by lugging water jugs from the store into the car and into the cottage. And I like to move wood and rocks around. The view is terrific over the lake, and I love the bonus of the improved strength.

    Julia: My partner has had both knees replaced - at the same time - and, while it was the toughest surgery she - or I on the sidelines - endured, the results of pain-free movement is totally worth it.

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    1. I've had both knees replaced, too, Julia, four years apart. The recovery was pretty brutal, but they are both much stronger now.

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    2. That’s what I like, too, Amanda! Folding my exercise into my chores. I’m thinking of painting some more rooms to get the stretching in!

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    3. Jenn, don’t forget the “stair climber” of the ladder to paint the top edges!

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  4. Back in the Stone Age, when I was in college, I really enjoyed weight training, and I had a whole flexibility training routine that had me resting my head on my outstretched knees at one (brief) point. But I had too much boobage to ever enjoy jogging, so walking and bicycling were my go-to cardiovascular activities.

    In the years since, I've let all of that go, but I still like to walk. Sadly I now live in a neighborhood that doesn't have consistent sidewalks, and I have a big back yard that the dogs enjoy, plus falling arches that make me prone to strained ankles and twisted knees. So, yeah, I'm pretty much of a wreck, physically. I keep telling myself I get back to it, but when I work 12-day weeks and 14-hour days, there's not a lot of energy left for exercise. Maybe after I retire I'll get a bicycle and once again know the joy of swooping over to my bestie's house to say, "Wanna ride?"

    For now, what free time I have goes to reading, and I want to say, Jenn, that I totally enjoyed "Caramel Crush." When you work long days in fairly stressful situations, being able to escape to a world of fun, witty people and cupcakes is a real treat. Thank you!

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    1. Gigi - you’re lovely - thank you! Exercise does fall away when life gets crammed full, doesn’t it? I hope your schedule eases up - I got tired just reading that!

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  5. I love exercise, now that I've read this blog post, I figure mine for the day is done! Actually, I am a scuba diver, swimmer, runner, and lately walker. I'm lucky enough to live in South Florida at the moment so the weather is fine. When we go home to Maine it will be skiing, hiking, running, and given the way winters have been going and we will be living there full time, I'm seriously looking into a treadmill!

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    1. I love Maine, but I also love Florida (not in summer)! Both of those places will give you plenty of opportunity to work out - for sure! I do prefer to exercise outside so that might be why I have gym aversion.

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    2. Kait, I don't know what part of Maine you're in, but there are lots of YMCAs and community fitness centers scattered throughout the state. Great for winter exercise AND for beating cabin fever after the 3rd or 4th nor'easter.

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  6. Seriously, anyone know a good way to increase upper body strength that doesn’t include lifting weights?I am so sad that the rubber band things don’t work… That was my next idea.

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    1. I think Ingrid's idea of talking with a trainer would be helpful. Or there are some things that yoga and pilates can help with - using your own body weight. Even walking with little hand weights is not bad. I see people doing that at the walking track I use.

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    2. There's a system where you use straps and do multiple types of exercise from them. I've used it at the gym, and have one for home use, but the only place I can use it is too far from the closest TV to see how to do the moves.

      Which is where a trainer comes in. You can hire a trainer to come to your house, which would probably work the best for you, Hank.

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    3. It might work if you’re not me. I think I’m going to borrow my neighbor’s toddler. If I heft him twenty times a day, I’ll be back in fighting form.

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    4. If the trainer comes, I'll have to put on real clothes, though. I'm thinking about a rubber band thing.

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    5. I'm not DOING it, mind you. Just thinking about it.

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    6. Hank, what is now long ago (30 yrs or so) my folk’s doctor told them to lift soup cans. (Thrifty Yankees. Why spend money on weights). They were pretty faithful to the lifting, especially after they found their golf swings improved. :-)

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    7. I've been wondering about this ,too. I'm considering trying regular pushups or buying some 5 - 10 lb hand weights.

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  7. As Julia points out, the O-word haunts me. I hit the local rec center three times a week: elliptical, stationary bike, rowing machine, leg press, free weights. And I walk ninety pounds of two lunging standard poodles every day. And do all the yardwork.

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    1. That sounds pretty perfect, Margaret. I had a standard many years ago - great dogs!

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  8. What exercise I do get is because I have artritis in so many places—stretching exercises help me stay semi-limber—but the arthritis also eliminates walking or running for exercise and I don’t do water sports. That leaves the stationary bike six days a week. I keep telling myself I should stay on it longer than I do, but I always seem to be able to talk myself into deciding I’ve been on it long enough!

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    1. Kathy - that’s commitment! Six days a week is awesome!

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  9. I have never been fond of exercise and for over 30 years was too heavy to enjoy any part of it. However, last summer I gave myself a serious talk. I was borderline Type 2 diabetic and my doctors were not pleased with me. I was having my 60th birthday in September and I asked myself, if not now, when? So, I put on my 'big girl pants', took myself off to Weight Watchers and vowed to 'move more' starting with walking. Happily, I have been successful in all regards. I've lost over 50 pounds and still going. I walk at least 5K every day. I feel no need to run, but walking is great. My local rec center has an indoor walking/running track and I go round and round - listening to books. Yes, that's my treat to myself. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the story, I just keep going. I do know that I need to work on my strengthening now and am thinking about getting back into yoga. I suspect some of those positions will be a bit easier with less 'insulation' around me. And walking - my goodness - I never believe in those endorphins, but you know, they are real! My mood is better and I cope better with almost everything. So, I am a big fan of 'movement' - however you want to do it.

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    1. Kay, that's impressive! And inspirational.

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    2. Wow! That’s a major achievement, Kay! Good for you. I think you’ve discovered that the secret is finding what works for you. Well done!

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    3. WOW Kay! Standing (er, walking) ovation!

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    4. Fantastic and inspiring, Kay! It's great to know it's possible to really change at our age.

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    5. Thanks for the kind words! I'm not bragging, but really pretty proud of myself these days. It has taken a long time, but, yes, change is possible. You know, my husband had unexpected open heart surgery in December (very unexpected) and I know that I was much stronger and more capable than I would have been if I had not started this journey last July. He is doing well now, but we've both had to adjust our eating and our movement (he never stopped being an athlete - that's why the heart disease was unexpected). My pact with myself if that I am 'never quitting or giving up on myself again'. Never. OK, rant over. I'm a little evangelistic about all this right now. LOL

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  10. I'm still awestruck at Jenn's "10 pages a day." I'm in NYC right now staying in an AIRBNB in Brooklyn and reminding myself how fit one has just living here because of all the walking you have to do to get around. It's great. As long as you stay moderately mobile.

    Kay, you are a role model!

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    1. Well, it’s only because I overbook myself with work and I like getting paid :)

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    2. That's my rationale for 2k words/day, too, Jenn! (Just finished a shitty first draft in five weeks by doing that.)

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  11. The need to glue my butt in the chair to write helped my weight soar more than twenty pounds over what it was when I started writing. Okay, almost thirty. (Yes, I know I'm not huge, but I used to be very slender.)

    Lately, various minor health issues have kept me from having the energy to work out, and it shows in the general blobbiness. I already had osteopenia, and can't wait to hear what my doctor says tomorrow in my physical (sarcasm here). It's extremely frustrating, all around.

    In warm weather I do a lot of yardwork, everything but the grass cutting (although I do use the no-motor lawn mower sometimes on the flat parts of the lawn--it's HARD work). But I need to get in shape now for the season.

    Our Medicare plan includes a Silver Sneakers membership, have you guys heard of this? It's completely free, and allows covered seniors access to 30,000 gyms across the US, including lots of classes. Ours, naturally, does not include the gym closest to us, but I really need to get my flabby posterior to the Y.

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    1. Karen, the rec center in our town does accept the Silver Sneakers membership. There are all kinds of classes and a special water aerobics for those members as well. I think it's interesting how we're beginning to find that continuing movement throughout life will help with so many conditions and possibly keep one from having to take meds or too many meds. Something our grandmothers didn't have a choice about probably, but they didn't sit in front of computer or stare down at a little phone in their hands. LOL

      Good luck with your doctor appointment!

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    2. I’m an outdoor yard girl, too! I actually like to use my chain saw - I took down a forty foot carob tree once all by myself :)

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    3. Now you're just showing off....WOW!

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    4. Dang, Jen! That's hardcore. And Karen, I hadn't heard of the Silver Sneakers program until this discussion thread. I'm still several years away from Medicare (alas) but it's good to know.

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    5. Julia, other health insurance plans may include Silver Sneakers for 50 plus (have no idea how old you are) people, no need to wait for 65. This is just from Y-locker room talk, but surely worth checking out.

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  12. I should have added that I keep my phone in my back pocket at all times and aim for 10,000 steps a day. I just came in from shoveling snow for an hour and...only 600 steps? That's crazy! (But with this lovely fluffy two feet of new white, I'll be able to get out for a perfect cross-country ski later, my favorite exercise.)

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    1. I do, too! The dogs and I walk every day for 2 mi but it doesn’t feel very aerobic with all the stopping to sniff so we sprint a little, too. Seeing how many steps you accumulate is a motivator.

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    2. Don't forget, you're also getting weight resistance when you'e shoveling that snow, Edith!

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  13. I used to play a lot of basketball, which was great aerobic exercise, plus resistance training when people try to push you out of the way. I had one knee scoped in my mid-fifties and the doc wanted to replace it, but I waited because I was afraid I'd have to do it again. I finally got both knees replaced in the last two years, and as others have said, the recovery can be rough, but the result is worth it. No more running and jumping, though. Now I walk a lot--it's a good thing for my wife and me to do together--and one of our new friends told me about some water exercise classes at the local Y, which I plan to investigate Real Soon Now. Having the structure of a class is a big help for me in sticking to things, which hasn't always been my strong suit.

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    1. I love basketball! The backboard on our hoop broke but I do love getting out there to play, although it was more fun when the Hooligans were shorter than me :(

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  14. My favorite form of exercise involves me on a couch. With a book. Or possibly ordering exercise videos. What? Just buying them doesn't count? Reality has crept in, though, as my body gets stiffer (Arthritis for real)and I sit at the computer many hours. As Hallie pointed out, life in NY involves walking so there is that. And yes, brisk walk gets the imagination going too. And I have lots of stairs in my house, so there is that. But I do go to pilates once a week and sometimes (not as much as I need) I do exercises at home. Do you sense the battle between "want" and "need to"? Hats off to all of you who do it regularly!

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    1. LOL! You sound like you have a nice balance going, Triss.

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  15. Hi Jenn!!

    Been working out hardcore 3-6 days a week. It’s high interval training classes. Trainers are fun and do lots of modifications for me. Lost 30# so far and getting stronger.

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    1. You are awesome! Keep going, girl!

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    2. Thirty pounds is amazing!! Good for you and getting stronger and healthier is the aim, right? I discovered I had a neck and collar bones! Who knew? LOL

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  16. I run. It started when I signed up for my first mud run (thanks to author Sue Ann Jaffarian). But I've become addicted - to both mud runs and running period. Although I need the motivation of knowing that I have a mud run coming up to get me out of my chair and running. I've just started running again after surgery in January, and knowing I have two mud runs in June, one of them a 10K (6 miles) is certainly motivation.

    I really need to do more other types of exercise. My upper body is laughable. But I don't have the motivation to do that, so it doesn't happen even though I could do that while watching TV in my living room.

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    1. Very impressive, Mark! I've considered doing one of the Spartan Runs (the easy one,) but I worry how my back would fare.

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    2. I am impressed. I can run in short bursts but long distance running destroy my shins. The mud sounds fun, though :)

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  17. I have a purple plastic thingy. I have it partially hidden behind the couch. Once in a blue moon I pull it out and use it to see if it's fun yet.

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  18. Before I retired, I was a nurse, and nurses get a ton of exercise. Period. At least I did. 12 hours on my feet, running from here to there, living on popcorn and coffee. Delivering babies and, later in my career, ushering people out of this world, hospice care, all of which involved physical something, all the time.

    When I retired, I got a dog, and having a dog means daily walks. Skipping them isn't an option. Fortunately my neighbor helps out when I'm indisposed. And 2017 was an indisposed year for me, three eye procedures, two major dental procedures, one hernia repair, two non-displaced fractures of the femur and a failed knee prosthesis, which concluded with yet another prosthesis. All in all I gained twenty pounds during these period of inactivity. Now I am back on the course. I do walk the dogs daily, try for an hour, but in the winter a half hour is about all we can handle. And last month I joined the JCC, a 13,000 sq ft state of the art facility that let's a shiksa in too.

    I have a personal fitness coordinator, a personal trainer, and a carefully designed program for strengthening my poor rt leg which is missing all of its ligaments and half of its femur by now. I also am working on core and upper body strength, slow and easy but sure. And yesterday I began a water class for arthritic old ladies. Two people told me my bathing suit was pretty. I have never heard bathing suit and pretty combined in one sentence. Anyway, these aquasize classes feel like a better workout than the machines. Of course all I can do when I get home is fall into a chair, but, hey, what the heck! Add in that daily walk, and I no longer consider myself sedentary.

    Silver Sneakers or Silver Fitness, which is what my Blue Cross Excellus calls it, is the best bang for the buck. I get all the above plus much more if I want for $25 a year, full membership privileges.

    All of you who are old enough for Medicare have this benefit. Give it a try. If you don't like it, you don't have to go back. And don't worry how you look in a bathing suit. Most of you will be underwater and nobody else looks all that good anyway.

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    1. OMG, you are a warrior, Ann. 2017 sounds like it was brutal. Good for you for shaking it off!

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    2. Ann, I love the aquasize classes at our Y. They offer everything from super gentle aqua-yoga to deep water fitness (I haven't tried that because my aerobic capacity is still barely up to blowing a balloon.) The best thing about the classes are the wonderful older women, all sizes, all shapes, completely unselfconscious about not looking like taut-bodied twenty year olds. It's very empowering to be around them!

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    3. The only thing about the water exercise classes is that they don't help strengthen bones. My doctor said you have to use gravity for that.

      Which really sucks.

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    4. Ann, my daughter is a nurse and I know how hard nurses work. Nurses are amazing! Love your bathing suit story! I'm still working on thinking about bathing suits - it's been a long, long time. LOL

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    5. Karen, the daily walks are for bone strengthening. The dreaded machines Plus the aquasize are for mobility, balance and muscle strengthening. I am very leery of Fosamax and the like. It can play havoc with old ladies and their swallowing ability

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    6. Ann, my dentist told me I should be extremely wary of Fosimax, too. She said she is seeing women patients in their 80's and 90's with deteriorating jaws, and she can't do anything to help them.

      Since I already have a compromised jaw, I had to stop taking the drugs. It's a bummer.

      I'll have to get back into the water exercise class. It's so much fun.

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  19. I hate this topic. It produces more guilt in me than I want to deal with. But, I know the reason I want to avoid the topic is because I have got to start some sort of exercise for my health and my weight. And, then there's my leg/hip/knee that I've had trouble with and had to go to physical therapy last November and December (probably still should be going). I know that going to the Y and doing the aquasize classes would help, but I haven't been able to make myself go. Years ago, when I lost weight, I walked, and having a dog helped make that happen. I haven't had a dog for three years, so that motivation isn't there now. I am making plans for when hubby retires this summer. We used to go outside in nature when we were young and walk, so I'm planning for us to go on some easy walking trails (maybe harder later) and start getting our exercise in. Also, we are going to get another dog when he retires. I'm really aware of what I need to do, but I haven't gotten there yet.

    My daughter is like you, Ingrid. She loves to exercise, and it shows, as she is slim and trim and strong. She has an elliptical at her home, she goes to the Y, she goes to zumba at a nearby other gym, and she walks daily. She used to run, but she no longer does that. She and her family are very outdoorsy, too.

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    1. Kathy, I understand what you're saying. I truly do. Last summer I started very, very slowly. And just gradually added - very gradually. Maybe just make an agreement with yourself for one class (maybe they have a 'try it to see if you like it' class) or maybe just walk to the end of the street or even walk in the mall for a little. Take breaks. I've decided that all of this 'healthier' lifestyle can take a little time to develop and get used to. And it should because, for me, 90% was mental. Good luck!! And be kind to yourself. :-)

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    2. Thanks, Kay. I do think starting slowly is going to be the way to go for me.

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    3. Kathy- it's great that you're thinking about it. I do believe that's the first step and every step moves you forward. Well, that's what I tell myself when I'm hating the treadmill :)

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  20. Jenn, I feel like the exercise police are pointing at me in this post.....saying "YES....YOU!!" Four years ago I was diagnosed with a sudden onset central nervous system disorder that has resulted in my still needing a cane for balance. I find it difficult to make myself move in space which leads to a host of other issues, such as a 20lb weight gain, and no energy to just move....which of course would give me more energy.....! My Neurological Physical Therapist has made a huge difference in helping me to regain a semblance of quality of life, but we are just now moving towards concentrating less on my brain function and more on the wreck of the rest of me! Inspiring reading for me.....especially Kay..... Currently still not driving thanks to my sketchy brain, so need to be creative in finding what works.....and what will motivate me to keep striving towards a healthier me.

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    1. Helen, my best wishes as you discover what works for you. I think I just want to encourage people to think about what you like or what works for you and try it. At least a little bit. Honestly, it has taken me over 30 years to get to this point. The trying part. Good luck and having a healthier you is the aim, right?

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    2. Thank you for the much needed encouragement Kay!

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    3. Helen, wow, that is a huge life change you got hit with. I think you are doing it just right by focusing on the brain. The rest will come.

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    4. Thanks Jenn for writing about exercise"struggles" with your signature sense of humor. Looking at tough challenges in a lighter way really helps my perspective!

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  21. Has anyone tried the Apple cider vinegar and honey cure espoused by Dr D.C. Jarvis? Apparently it's an old folk medicine cure that really works. Dr Jarvis was a family doctor in Vermont who said he learned about it from his patients. I read about it in my local newspaper. You put a couple of spoonfuls each of Apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of water and drink once a day. Really curious.

    For exercise, I garden and volunteer at my local library shelving books. Just hate the gym.

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    1. I should have said this is an ARTHRITIS remedy.

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    2. I had not heard of this for arthritis. I don't have it but it does run in the family. I'm making notes!

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  22. Last year I joined the fitness center through my insurance but never went. I do garden and do OnDemand fitness videos. Also dance along with Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and any show with good music.

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    1. Dancing is the best exercise! I applaud you!

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  23. I used to be a huge walker/hiker, until two summers ago when I tripped on my front lawn and dislocated my ankle, fracturing the three surrounding leg bones along with it. 9 months later, I had just gotten back to walking as far as a mile at a time when I was in a car accident (as a passenger) and injured, yes, the same ankle! Six months later, I joined the Y so I could start swimming and I just love it! Starting to take off the weight I put on from so much immobility. I do wonder about the Y design that has the competition pool completely enclosed and banks of windows on two sides of the heated pool I swim in. Do us flabby middle aged people REALLY want to be viewed from both the parking lot and the lobby?!

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    1. Good for you, Melanie! Sorry to hear about the double ouch but delighted that you're swimming!

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  24. Jenn, I love your descriptions! I HATE exercising. I like swimming but don't want anyone to see how terrible I am at it and showing off my fat public fills me with dread. No bathing suit can disguise my round shape. If I could afford it, I'd buy an swim spa/endless pool so I could swim in the privacy of my own home. (That's the small pool, just big enough for one person, where you swim again a current.)

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  25. Google was being persnickety yesterday and wouldn't let me comment.

    Like Julia, I can't walk very far without pain (but my problems won't be solved with a joint replacement).

    We bought a 3-month membership to a local pool that also has a weight room. I need to go with The Hubby and The Boy; they go 3x a week. I can swim while they lift weights.

    Mary/Liz Milliron

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